Tag Archives: Decisions

Seven Ways Your Friends Influence You

For better or worse, our friends have the ability to impact our decisions. And oftentimes, we don’t even realize its happening. From the clothes we wear, to the food we eat and even the career moves we make. Check out these 7 ways our friends can influence us.

1. Your Relationship.

While friends often mean well when giving relationship advice, it’s essential to remember that everyone is giving counsel based on their own experiences (and projections) — plus, they’re only hearing half the story. Independence of thought and confidence are invaluable when it comes to accepting the realities of your own relationship. So, if you’re constantly comparing your couple hood to the ‘perfect’ ones you think your friends have (we know we’ve all done this before!), you’re going to frustrate both yourself and your partner and possibly erode your relationship by devaluing it.

2. Your Eating Habits.

Have you ever gone to a restaurant with the healthiest of intentions — a salad followed by grilled fish and steamed vegetables — only to find yourself halfway through a bacon cheeseburger and onion rings? Or, on the other hand, have you ever listened to everyone at your table order a salad with grilled chicken, only to hear yourself echo their order? As it turns out, eating is a contagious behavior.

In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which analysed data from 32 years, found that your chances of becoming obese actually increase by 57% if you have a friend that’s obese, a chance that’s even greater than sharing genes, she says. So if your overweight friend orders dessert, you assume it’s okay to do the same; you’re changing your eating habits to mirror hers. It’s not necessary to stop going out to dinner with these friends in real world scenarios, but these findings do suggest that mindfulness is especially important when dining out. We’d definitely have to agree with that one.

3. Your Exercise Regimen.

One of the best ways friends influence each other is to encourage, irritate, remind, show up, and be there for exercise. Research proves that having friends to exercise with, really improves both persons’ health, even if that friend is just a walking canine companion. Vice versa, if your friends aren’t physically active at all, it’s likely that exercise will become less of a priority for you.

4. Your Self-Esteem.

Think about it: we tend to compare ourselves to the people in our social group, and the social group we wish we were in, so if our friends have more than us (money, looks, things, etc.), then we tend to feel worse about ourselves and our lives. On the other hand, if we have a bit more than most of the people in our group, we tend to feel better about our lives. Obviously, self-esteem should come from within, though, so take a step back and re-evaluate if you find yourself guilty of this.

5. Your Goals & Aspirations.

Did you know that over 80% of women have “frenemies”? In other words, people who don’t have our best interests at heart and actually undermine goal accomplishment. Well, according to professional coach, it’s true. Research from Shelley Gable, called ‘What Happens When Things Go Right?’ says that how our friends respond to our good news can predict whether or not we continue to pursue what matters to us. The only right way to respond is called ‘active constructive responding,” which is an upbeat, engaging response that begs to know all the details.

6. Your Style.

Along with your geographic area, your family, and the media, friends have a big influence on what you wear. The more important fitting in is for you, the greater your friends’ influence will be. So when it comes to your clothes, whatever style it is that you’re used to seeing on a day-to-day basis, the more likely it is you’ll adopt this look for yourself. Why? Because it becomes your visual norm. This could be good or bad.

7. Your Career.

How many times have you heard, or said, ‘It’s who you know,’ when speaking of someone successful? It’s true. In order to succeed in many things, you need to know the people who have the power in that field. Throughout your school years, you build friendships with people who will turn out to be the powerful ones. And when you build good relationships with people who have succeeded, you find mentors and get an extra boost up the ladder of success that doesn’t exist for outsiders.

So tell us, how have your friends influenced you in your life, for better or worse?

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Symptoms Of Severe Depression

First, let’s get some terminology straight. ‘Severe depression’, ‘major depression’ and ‘clinical depression’, are terms that tend to be used interchangeably to mean the same thing.

What these terms refer to is the condition described technically by psychiatrists as ‘major depressive disorder’. Therefore as we discuss the symptoms of major depressive disorder in this article, bear in mind that we are looking at what may also be called:

• Major Depression Symptoms
• Clinical Depression Symptoms, and
• Symptoms of Severe Depression.

The Symptoms of Severe Depression – The Technical Version

A person is suffering from major depressive disorder or (severe or clinical depression) if for most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks, they have had at least 5 of the following symptoms, including (1) and/or (2):

1. A low/depressed mood.
2. Significantly less interest in and pleasure from usual activities (this is called “Anhedonia”).
3. Significant change in appetite or weight.
4. Inability to sleep or sleeping more than usual.
5. Fatigue, loss of energy.
6. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
7. Lethargy or hyperactivity.
8. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
9. Recurring thoughts of suicide or death.

Now, let’s break that down a bit.

Step 1

First, it is important to note that low mood and/or loss of pleasure or interest in usual activities (Anhedonia) must be present.

In effect these are the threshold conditions. Doctors are sometimes recommended to screen for depression by asking questions to establish whether either of these two conditions are present.

Step 2

If you are suffering from low mood and Anhedonia, then the next consideration is whether 3 of the other listed symptoms are present.

If you are suffering from either low mood or Anhedonia, then 4 of the other symptoms need to be present.

Step 3

The next step relates to the duration of symptoms. The relevant symptoms must have been present every day for at least two weeks and must have been felt for most of every day.

Of course you may in fact have been suffering for much longer than two weeks or have had more than one episode where the symptoms have been present for at least two weeks. This is really the norm, of course – we don’t usually go to our doctor two weeks and one day after starting to feel depressed.

Step 4

The final step that I didn’t refer to above, but which it is crucial to consider, is that your symptoms must be a change from your normal state and have a significant impact on your day to day functioning. The symptoms must: “cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

If you think about it, this is what is at the heart of an individual’s experience of depression. It is the inability to function normally that takes us out of the ‘feeling down’ camp into a whole new arena.

Symptoms of Severe Depression – The Real Life Version

Whilst it is useful for you to know the technical framework that doctors use to assess depression, the criteria may not necessarily reflect your own descriptions about the way you feel. We can all experience different symptoms or express them in different ways, both to ourselves and others.

Depression – what is it?:

“Diagnosis by counting is a totally absurd, and often very dangerous, proposition. When it works, we arrive at a very rough indicator of what may be wrong with us. Too often, the exercise is wholly misleading.”

For this reason, doctors assessing a patient for depression (assuming that are doing a thorough job) should ask lots of questions about the way the patient feels and look for examples of behavior that may or may not fit into the accepted criteria.

Some of the other ways that you might use to describe the way you feel, but which in substance may still fit within the technical criteria are as follows:

• Feeling flat
• Feeling very down
• Feel like I don’t care about anything
• Having to make a real effort to do anything
• Can’t really feel anything any more
• Don’t care about the things I used to
• Feel very on edge
• Feel very stressed
• Very irritable
• Can’t think straight
• Can’t make up my mind about anything
• Don’t feel like I can go on
• Feel useless
• Feel hopeless
• Don’t see any future
• Don’t see the point of anything
• Can’t get out of bed
• Don’t want to see anybody
• Don’t want to talk to anybody
• Can’t sleep
• Can’t eat
• Can’t stop eating
• Don’t have any energy
• Feel exhausted

Other Diagnoses:

If you feel that something is not quite right with your moods or the way that you feel, you need to be aware that there are various different types of depression and other behavioral or mood disorders. So, if your situation doesn’t reflect the symptoms of severe depression, then you or your doctor should consider whether any of the other possibilities might apply.

These include –

• Dysthymia (milder, prolonged depression)
• Bi-polar disorder (formerly manic depression)
• Adjustment disorder with depressed mood (a depressive reaction to a particular event or stress)
• Schizophrenia

Conclusions:

The symptoms of severe depression will usually be very clear to you if you stop to think about how you feel.

But, one of the major difficulties with depression, of course, is that it takes away our inclination to take action to put things right – we can just feel ‘too depressed’ to do anything about it.

That’s why it is essential that you discuss how you feel with somebody close to you, as they may be able to help you get the attention you need.

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How To Move On After A Break Up?

A break up is not the end of the world, and instead of wallowing in self pity or burning with rage, you really should be working on moving on with your life after a break up.

How do we learn to have better relationships? Well, strangely, when the student is ready, the master appeareth… thus goes an old Chinese proverb.

When we need to learn a hard lesson, and have taken things for granted, or have not been able to read a situation well enough, then life itself becomes the teacher. We always remember the time we experienced pain. Avoiding such painful recurrences in future becomes a reflex action that protects us.

But, remember… A break up is not the end of the world and you can always move on after a break up!

A break up is a consequence of what we did, or did not do. It is a time for introspection. It is not a time for instant decisions. This is nature’s way of saying learn from the experience and see that it does not recur.

Here are some tips for those who might be on the terminated side of a relationship:

1. Understand the Pain.

Do not get into revenge mode, what’s done is done. Do not blame yourself for what has happened. Do take time to figure out what went wrong, and what you could have done better. You have lost love, but you have gained a lesson.

2. Pain is nature’s way of saying that something was wrong. Pain is therefore our best teacher.

Let’s learn from this. Do understand that everything in life doesn’t last forever. Some things will fail, in spite of our best efforts. Look at the other significant relationships in your personal life (siblings, parents, friends, colleagues). Try to enhance these, because some of these may have been neglected when you were high on love.

3. Refocus on your Life.

Look at all the things in your life that you had not focused on while you were in a relationship. Revisit your goals and dreams. Have these slipped over the years? Start looking ahead, and planning for the other aspects of your life like your career, your health, etc. Join a gym, go for dance classes, start a new hobby. Do something different.

4. Celebrate Life.

Life is a celebration. But every celebration costs something. How much are you willing to pay life to learn and to evolve? And how would it be if you could understand to read people’s minds and help them back, instead of taking them for granted or getting annoyed with them? Would you then be a better person, or would you instead continue being your old self and try another roll of the dice in the game of love?

You can lock yourself up and wait for the inevitable breakdown in your life, or you can move on after a break up into a better life. The choice, fortunately or unfortunately, is entirely your own!

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3 Tips For Dealing With Disappointment

Sometimes things just don’t turn out how we want. It could be anything—a project, a relationship, a job. We enter into these situations with high hopes, and often, when our hopes are dashed, we feel intensely disappointed.

Here Are Three Tips to Help Ease the Sting of Disappointment

So that the next time things don’t go your way (and trust me, there will be a next time) you’ll be able to bounce back more easily.

1. Trust.

Many times, when things don’t work out as we planned, there’s actually something bigger and better on the horizon. You’ve probably experienced this before—you get all worked up because you didn’t receive a job offer or something like that—only to realize, in hindsight, that if you’d been offered that job, you never would have moved across the country and met your soul mate. At the time, you probably felt angry, sad, and disappointed. But in retrospect, you can see how everything was working out with perfect timing.

When things don’t go our way, it’s important to learn to trust that the universe has our back. Even though your situation might look bleak at the moment, there’s something better coming. I truly believe that when we think in this way, we actually create these bigger and better things. Call it a shift in perspective, a self-fulfilling prophecy, or the law of attraction. However you want to think of it, there’s a mountain of evidence attesting to the fact that, in all areas of life, mindset matters.

Cheryl Richardson, the best-selling author of The Art of Extreme Self-Care and You Can Create an Exceptional Life, often tells the story of her experience with the Oprah show. One day, Cheryl got the call that many people dream of—Oprah wanted to have her on her show. Cheryl was elated, until she received another call a few weeks before the show was to air. It ended up that Oprah didn’t want her anymore.

Cheryl was devastated, but after some initial mourning, she kept following her passion of being a life coach and author. Then, a year later, Oprah called again. This time, Cheryl got on the show, and she did so well that Oprah turned her into a regular guest on her Life Makeover Series.

The moral? Cheryl says that if she had gotten on the show the first time around, she wouldn’t have done as well, because she didn’t have enough media experience to nail the interview. The extra year gave her time to hone her craft so that when she did end up on the show, she knocked it out of the park.

The next time something doesn’t go your way, close your eyes and say to yourself, “I trust that everything in my life is happening in perfect, divine timing.”

2. Release.

In modern life, we often place far too much emphasis on the outcome of our actions, as opposed to enjoying the journey. We have a picture in our mind of exactly how everything is supposed to work out: we’ll have this relationship by this age, this job at this point, this much money in the bank by this year, this many children, this car, this house, and on and on.

Unfortunately, this isn’t how the real world works. Of course, it’s always nice to have goals and a vision of what we want in life, but if we attach too strongly to that vision, we end up feeling crushed when things don’t go according to our five (or forty!) year plan.

We need to loosen our grip on the outcome and learn to enjoy the process. We try so hard to control our lives, while the saying, “Man plans, god laughs” is utterly true.

Let go of your attachment to the outcome. All you have is this moment, right here, right now. This is it! Enjoy it as best as you can. If this moment is difficult, return to point one and trust that something better is on the way.

3. Expand.

When we’re working toward a goal, we often have on blinders. These blinders cause us to see a very narrow picture of the outcome that we desire. Unfortunately, this tunnel vision results in a very close-minded approach that can actually stifle our motivation and creativity.

A practice that I like to use is to ask the universe for what I want, but to keep an open mind at the same time. For example, you can visualize the outcome that you desire, and then affirm to yourself, “I trust that I am being guided toward this or something better.”

Access Consciousness recommends a fantastic question to help reduce narrow-mindedness. The next time you catch yourself obsessing over a very specific outcome, ask yourself, “What else is possible?”

The trick here is to avoid searching for an answer with your logical mind. We tend to overemphasize the capabilities of our rational mind, when in fact, research shows that we actually make poorer decisions when we rely on logic. Many times, our emotions, gut feelings, and unconscious minds lead us to better decisions. Creativity is not logical.

You’ve probably heard many examples where people came up with solutions to problems, inventions, and beautiful pieces of art through dreams or other unconscious means.

When we find ourselves getting too preoccupied with an outcome, we need to let it go for awhile and expand our mindset. Go for a walk, spend time with a loved one, or meditate. Continue to ask yourself, “What else is possible?” But don’t go searching for the answer. Let it percolate. The guidance will come exactly when it’s meant to.

Disappointment as a Gift.

In the end, life’s disappointments often bear hidden gifts. The trick is to shift our perspective so that we can see these blessings for what they are.

In his book The Gift of Fire, Dan Caro talks about how a horrible childhood accident that left him disfigured and near death was actually a gift. Dan learned early on how to make adversity work for him, and you can too.

Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and trust, release, and expand.

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10 Secrets To Daily Life And Happiness

1. Prick your memory every day.

Memorizing something every day, even a poem, a phrase, a joke, will help keep your mind fresh, active and improve your memory.

2. Get out of your comfort zone.

Change your point of view, see the world as a gift of life, a package that you can open and enjoy and not as a cruel and suffering. With a positive attitude you will discover wonderful things. Develop curiosity and try new things. Say “yes” to life, instead of “maybe”.

3. Take care of your body.

A healthy body leads to better health, more confidence and more success in professional and personal life, three excellent reasons to drink more pure water, sleep earlier and drink less alcohol and eat less saturated fat.

4. Focus on the present.

By focusing on the past we are locked in a vicious circle of events that can never change, and waste the opportunities of today. The future is the result of your present. Learn from the past to enjoy your present and your future better.

5. Keep smiles.

Did you know that the simple act of smiling causes your brain to secrete serotonin, a substance that makes us feel good? Tomorrow, when you wake up, try to smile a little. Happiness gives us smiles, but smiles lead us to happiness. I bet you will start your day much better than others.

6. Learn to forgive.

Forgiveness is something that is difficult for most people. The resentment only brings misery and sadness, loneliness and bitterness. You constantly make mistakes; don’t you think that others deserve a second chance too?

7. Embrace your emotions.

The only person you can brighten or sadden, really, is yourself. Learn to embrace your emotions with meditation techniques and how they affect you recognize the words of others. Find the strength you need to maintain stability.

8. Relax.

Work is important, and being successful is more important. However, the rest is much more important to help achieve these objectives, as well as congratulating yourself for achieving, carrying out tasks and responsibilities.

9. Do what you love to do.

There is a huge difference between doing what you have to do, and do what you love to do. What do you do? Does it give you happiness and satisfaction? Does it makes sense to work and live a life you hate until you finally have a chance to retire and then do what you want? Why not start from now? Learn to recognize what you love and begin to apply it in your daily life.

10. Listen to your intuition.

Not only listen to your mind, but also your feelings. What are they saying? Do not mistake the voice in your head with your unconscious. Learning to distinguish from each other will help you find a better way and take better decisions.

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Being Yourself; Knowing Who You Are.

It is quite a simple statement really, to say “Just be yourself” – but when faced with the tough situations in life you ask yourself

• Who am I?

• What does it involve being myself?

• How can I be myself if I really don’t know who I am right now?

• How do I find out who I really am? Who can tell me this?

The answer is YOU. You need to unveil what it is that “fulfills” you. When I say “fulfill” I mean what “completes you” as a person. What truly makes you happy and at peace with life? You were born totally unique and began growing up on the path devoted totally to you.

Then some time, some where we are influenced by the outside world and start becoming or trying to become somebody else. Society pushes us to have “her hair” or “her body” or “their marriage” or car or house or career.

We are bombarded with choices and fail to make decisions based on our best interests. We get confused and off track and suddenly we don’t know where to turn.

Don’t worry. The solutions are in “you”. Take stock of your personality. Write down all the positive things about yourself, about who you are. Note all the negative things that you could probably work on improving (don’t dwell too much on these points at the moment). But where I am headed with this is to acknowledge a few attributes about you that make you – You.

Ask a close friend, relative or colleague to also write down some positive things about you and some negative things that they believe you could change. Are you seeing the same qualities in yourself as how others see you? You don’t really have to do this activity to benefit from it – but just merely thinking about the outcome might give you the starting point for expressing who you truly are.

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses.

Are whether you are honest with yourself?

I say it’s a mental thing. An obsession. A control issue and a very deceiving condition. 

Lies. Lying to yourself, your husband, your mum, your friends. Everybody close to you. But mostly damaging yourself. When you lie to yourself you are breaking the biggest form of trust one can tamper with and that itself will destroy you.

For whatever you are facing right now, I want to assure you it’s okay. You don’t have to be a victim. Just because you’ve lied, or feel the need to lie, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person and should be banished. You simply need to forgive. Think of yourself as a small child looking for approval. All that child wants is some guidance, hope, encouragement, love and acceptance. If you deny a child those things they are going to feel scared. They are going to be frightened of the world and they are going to hold back on striving to be the best they can be because of self doubt. So forgive your mistakes, accept you have done wrong, learn the lesson being taught and move on with encouragement that things will get better.

You are only human, you are allowed to make mistakes. The true spirit comes from allowing these mistakes to act as stepping stones into the pathway of your success. You can leave them behind so long as you continue to keep paving that road ahead of you. With every situation you are faced in life, you can ask yourself “Am I being genuine, real, authentic, sincere and true to myself?”.

Making decisions in your life that choke you with the guilt are not in your best interests. You are only hurting yourself. Until you realize you are a total victim of yourself. You are your own worst enemy. You are abusing yourself in the highest form of abuse. You are sick of being treated this way and the only one who can change this is you. You have to learn to love yourself, appreciate yourself and accept yourself for all that you are. That makes you decide that you didn’t like the person you had become and you had to change.

We all have flaws. We all have battles. We all have room for improvement. Don’t see perfections around you. Not all are perfect. All misbehave in their own time. It takes a while, but accept who you are. Accept your journey as necessary to bring you where you are right now. Sure you have regrets – everybody has, but choose not to dwell on them because they are part of your past.

They are all necessary to bring you to where you are right now. You should look into your future and knowing that whatever obstacles are presented to you now – you have the strength to handle them. You might not get it at first go, you might not follow a direct line, but ultimately you will get there. And you will get there with honesty, optimism and a full heart – because being empty is nobody’s desire.

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